In the early afternoon of October 23, 2011, a severe earthquake struck Eastern Turkey turning buildings to piles of rubble within seconds and leaving, some estimate, up to 60,000 Kurds instantly homeless, not to mention over 600 dead. Aid agencies along with the Turkish government tried to alleviate the pain and suffering by offering tents and supplies, but as the winter snows began to pile up around them, many decided to leave their homelands and go south. Some actually migrated all the way down into Iraq, to the warmer desert plains south of Erbil.
Learning about these new refugee families, a few of us decided to gather up some things to share with them. One of our American friends shared the plight of these Kurds from Van, with his Kurdish neighbors, and they ended up with an entire pick-up truck load of food, blankets, clothes, and other supplies.
Together we headed south to their ‘encampment’ – temporary housing supplied by the Kurdish government.
Because they were Turkish speaking Kurds, we were able to easily converse with them and find out their needs and hear their stories. Dawn was able to empathize with them, in particular, and pray for them having lived through the great Istanbul earthquake of ’99.
The families intend on returning to Van in the late spring, but this was our chance to reach out and share God’s love with those with whom we wouldn’t otherwise have crossed paths.
Pray for these refugees that have lost nearly everything they own and thousands others like them that are eeking out an existence in tents in the cold winter still in Eastern Turkey.